It will be a battle on the court when Western Nebraska Community College and McCook Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams go to war on the hardwoods Tuesday night at Cougar Palace.
The women’s contest features the top two teams in Region IX South and two of the top six scoring teams in the nation doing battle with the winner taking a big step in hosting the Region IX tournament. Tip-off for the women’s contest is set for 5:30 p.m.
The Cougar men will be looking to stay unbeaten in the South when they take their 3-0 record against a McCook team that is 0-2 in conference play. Men’s action begins at 7:30 p.m.
All four teams at Cougar Palace Tuesday can score points. The women’s contest should be interesting for offensive output. WNCC has scored 1,746 points the season and are scoring at a clip of 91.9 per game, fourth best in the nation.
McCook has scored the second most points in Region IX and is averaging 88.5 points per game, which is sixth best in the country.
WNCC has won four straight since a 83-63 loss to Casper on January 7. The Cougars have hit the century mark twice during the win streak, topping Otero 104-66 and then besting Lamar on Saturday 113-42.
McCook has also played Lamar and Otero. The Indians topped Lamar 112-60 while besting Otero 85-73. McCook has only hit the century mark three times this season, including a 133-55 opening-season win over the McCook All-stars.
WNCC has hit the century mark seven times this season, including three straight 100-point games. WNCC has also scored 99 points twice this season in wins over Northeast Nebraska 99-49 and Cloud County Community College 99-54.
WNCC is led by a threesome of double-digit scorers. Sophomore Merle Wiehl leads the team and nation with a scoring average of 23.4 points. Wiehl became only the second women’s player in school history to score 1,000 points when she surpassed the 1,000 mark on Saturday. Wiehl needs just 26 points to break the all-time WNCC scoring record of 1.026 set by Penny Mallet in 1981-83.
The Cougars also are receiving a double-digit performance from Tishara Morehouse at 15.8 points while Taylor Joplin is scoring at 13.2 points.
The McCook women have five players scoring in double figures. The Indians are led by Hailey Tiles at 16.7 points followed by Sam Hinkle at 14,9 points. Nikki Cross is next at 11.6 points followed by Anna Sanjuan and Makenna Bodette at 10.5 and 10.2 points respectively.
The men’s contest will be an interesting contest as anytime WNCC and McCook do battle, records mean very little. The Cougar men enter with a 3-0 sub-region record and is one of the top 20 offensive teams in the nation, averaging 95.8 points a game.
The Cougars are on a 3-game winning streak since a last-second buzzer-beating loss to Laramie County Community College on January 7. WNCC started the win streak with a 107-87 home win against Otero before hitting the road over the weekend and besting Northeastern Junior College 97-88 and then Lamar 97-61.
McCook has lost it’s last three contests. The Indians fell to Air Force Prep 81-80 and then suffered sub-region defeats over the weekend to Otero Junior College 85-78 and then Trinidad State Junior College 85-69. The Indians are averaging 87.6 points a game
WNCC has six players averaging double digits. Jervay Green, the University of Nebraska signee, is averaging 24.6 points a game, fifth in the nation. Green surpassed the 1,000-point mark on Saturday in the win over Lamar when he scored 20 points. Green now has 1,015 points and became the 14th player in WNCC history to score 1,000 points. The career record holder is Bernard Garner, who scored 1,304 points in 1993-95. Garner went on to play at the University of Nebraska after WNCC.
Also hitting double digits for the Cougars is Scottsbluff graduate Dru Kuxhausen at 18.9 points. Kuxhausen is shooting 52.7 percent from beyond the arc and ranks fifth in the nation in made 3-pointers with 69.
The Cougars are also receiving 17.1 points from Martin Roub, 14.3 points from Bryce Sanchious, 11.0 points from Marquis White, and 10.3 from Henry Tanksley.
WNCC’s bread and butter is the 3-point shot. The Cougars have connected on 233 treys this season, third in the country, and are sixth in the country in 3-point shooting at 42.3 percent. Kuxhausen has buried 69 treys this season followed by Green with 60. Roub, the 6-foot-10 center who signed with Jacksonville State, had made 37 long-range shots.
McCook also have scorers on its teams. Junathean Cunningham leads the team at 14.7 points followed by Mardrez McBride at 13.3 points. Jacob Bodin is averaging 11.2 points followed by Tyrek Battle-Holley at 10.2 points.
After Tuesday, the Cougar men will be on the road for a sub-region contest at North Platte Community College on Friday. The Cougar women will be off until Monday when they host Casper College at 6 p.m.
Region IX Women’s Standings
Team Conf. Overall
WNCC 3-0 16-3
McCook 2-0 13-5
NJC 1-1 11-5
Trinidad 0-1 9-8
Otero 0-2 10-7
Lamar 0-2 2-18
Casper 4-0 15-4
Gillette 4-0 11-8
LCCC 3-1 12-7
EWC 2-2 15-4
W. Wyoming 1-3 4-14
C. Wyoming 1-3 7-12
Sheridan 1-3 11-9
Northwest 0-4 2-16
Region IX Men’s Standings
Team Conf. Overall
WNCC 3-0 15-5
North Platte 2-0 13-1
NJC 1-1 9-10
Trinidad 1-1 14-4
Otero 1-2 13-4
McCook 0-2 7-10
Lamar 0-2 11-8
Sheridan 4-0 18-1
Casper 3-1 18-2
C. Wyoming 3-1 8-11
EWC 2-2 7-11
Northwest 2-2 9-11
LCCC 1-3 8-12
W. Wyoming 1-3 6-12
Gillette 0-4 11-9